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Wed, Mar 03, 2010

Russia Plans New Strategic Bomber

Prime Minister Putin Says Russia Must Upgrade Aging Military Aircraft

On the heels of the first flight of Russia's new T-50 Stealth Fighter, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (pictured, right) said the country will begin work on another new aircraft. "We won't limit ourselves to just one new model," Putin said at a government meeting that focused on military aviation. "We must start work on a prospective long-range aircraft, our new strategic bomber."

While no plans or sketches of the new bomber have been seen, insiders say it may resemble Boeing's B-2 bomber which first flew more than 20 years ago. The T-50 bears a resemblance to the F-22 Raptor, which has also been flying for two decades.  

The Associated Press reports that in Putin's televised remarks, he said that development of new construction materials and electronics will be top priorities for the Russian military. He said the bomber must follow the new fighter as the country strives to modernize its aging arsenal.  Maj. Gen. Anatoly Zhikharev, the head of Russia's long-range aviation program, said earlier this year that the new bomber would be needed to replace the Soviet-built Tu-95 and Tu-160 by 2025-2030.

Military analysts say post-Soviet industrial degradation have slowed down new developments in Russia's weapons programs, and production quality has suffered as well.



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